With all the coverage of the royal wedding, this year may go down in the history books as the “Year of William and Kate.” But the newlyweds will have to share the spotlight. To raise awareness of sustainable management, development and conservation of forests, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests. Trees are vital in improving air quality, lessening that nasty greenhouse effect, conserving water and housing wildlife. The Missouri Botanical Garden is celebrating this big year with Treemendous activities, displays and fun for the entire family.
• Put on your detective hat because the Missouri Botanical Garden is holding a multi-state scavenger hunt! From now until Sept. 30, the Gardens have selected 30 trees based on species diversity, geographic location, size, form, historic significance and beauty throughout the St. Louis and Illinois metro area. Each tree location is marked with a sign that identifies the tree plus a scannable Quick Response (QR) code. To prove that you visited the site, write down the information on the sign or take a photo with your smartphone. What to learn more about that fast-growing tree in Unger Park with the peeling, papery bark? Just scan the QR code with your phone to access a webpage with additional information about that specific tree and its surroundings. If you don’t have a QR code scanner on your phone, download one for free from your phone’s app store or marketplace.
The first 1,000 participants to find at least 15 of the 30 trees by September and turn in their Tree Hunt Journal will receive a TREEmendous Prize Pack full of goodies including a pair of kid-friendly binoculars, journal, limited edition signed art print, discount book from local gardening retailers and nurseries, one adult admission to the Garden and one child’s admission to the Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden. Everyone submitting a completed Tree Hunt Journal will be entered into a drawing to win a native fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus
. The winner will have their tree hand-delivered and planted this fall by horticulturists from the Missouri Botanical Garden.
The Great St. Louis Tree Hunt is not only fun, it’s beneficial to the environment. For every Tree Hunt web page that is visited, 3Degrees, Ameren Missouri Pure Power’s partner for renewable energy and carbon balancing services, will offset ten pounds of carbon dioxide. Click here to download an area guide, clue and photo journal or view a Google Map online to find clues about locations of the trees.
• While your are dropping off your completed Tree Hunt Journal at the Missouri Botanical Garden, come learn about the many roles trees and forests play in our lives at the TREEmendous Interactive Discovery Center. Create artwork out of tree parts, test your tree IQ, dress up as a tree or experience what life is like in a forest canopy. Relax under the shade of the story tree, take in a forest film and share your favorite tree stories and memories in the Tree Tales community journal. Drop in anytime from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Jan. 1, 2012.
• Trees are not only beneficial to the environment, they are great places to build a hideaway. Get some inspiration for your next backyard project at the TREEmendous Extreme Tree Houses display. Local designers, architects, schools, studios and individuals have unleashed their imagination to create some unbelievable tree houses beneath the canopy of the Garden’s oak, elm and ginkgo trees. You can check out the winning submissions dally from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Sunday, Aug. 21.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $4 for St. Louis City and County residents and $8 for all other adults. Children 12 and under are free. For more information on the Missouri Botanical Garden Treemendous events, visit their website or contact them at (314) 577-5100.
By Andrea Wilson, Events Blogger for SmartParenting